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Biometrics may just be the revolution needed to kill off the password

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Frustration over passwords, or the forgetting of those pesky numbers, letters and symbols, continues to be a major tipping point in some people's push back against technology.

Many people argue that the numerous passwords, complete with their special requirements for upper case letters, numbers and other spaces and symbols, are becoming too tedious. There needs to be change, and it appears to be on its way.

Leading the push toward change in the password sector is Thomas Way, a computer science professor at Villanova University, who has called the current trend the "tyranny of the password." He says more efforts must be taken in order to change how the world views passwords and how users can streamline passwords but maintain their online safety.

"We're due for a revolution," he said.

There is hope biometrics can help to reduce, and maybe potentially end, the need to remember a bunch of different passwords. Already, a number of products, including some iPhones, offer the fingerprint as a means of getting into your device. And as more and more hackers are able to quickly hack accounts, the fingerprint and biometric solution could be the future.

Still, biometrics may be a way off. For the immediate future, your traditional password is what will be needed. But with a flurry of hackers going after passwords, showing how easy some passwords can be to hack, there are solutions and ways to gauge your own password's strength.

The California-based Gibson Research Corp. has published a website that allows users to type in their password, or potential passwords, in order to see how quickly hackers could get into your accounts.

Another option experts and researchers into Internet security say is to develop complete sentences as passwords, including proper grammar. That way, it limits the ability for a hacker to know the full length of a password, which makes it more and more difficult to hack.

Bill Lidinsky, director of security and forensics at the School of Applied Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, often demonstrates in his college classes just how easy it is to use readily available software to figure out passwords.

"I crack my students' passwords all the time," Lidinsky says, "sometimes in seconds."

For now, passwords will remain a central part of our online experience, but could become a thing of the past in the near future.

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